New Brighton, Merseyside

New Brighton

Marine Lake at New Brighton
New Brighton
 New Brighton shown within Merseyside
Population 14,859 
(2011 CensusWard)
OS grid referenceSJ302934
    London  181 mi (291 km)[1] SE
Metropolitan boroughWirral
Metropolitan county Merseyside
RegionNorth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town WALLASEY
Postcode district CH45
Dialling code 0151
ISO 3166 code GB-WRL
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK ParliamentWallasey
List of places

Coordinates: 53°25′55″N 3°02′56″W / 53.432°N 3.049°W / 53.432; -3.049

New Brighton is a seaside resort forming part of the town of Wallasey, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in the metropolitan county of Merseyside, England. It is located at the northeastern tip of the Wirral Peninsula, once within the historic county boundaries of Cheshire, and has sandy beaches which line the Irish Sea. New Brighton is home to the UK's longest promenade at slightly over 2 miles (3.5 km).

At the 2001 Census, the population of the electoral ward of New Brighton stood at 14,450 (6,869 males, 7,581 females),[2] increasing at the 2011 Census to 14,859 (7,237 Males, 7,622 Females).[3]


New Brighton sea front, with lighthouse and Fort Perch Rock, c. 1840

Up to the 19th century, the area had a reputation for smuggling and wrecking,[4] and secret underground cellars and tunnels are still rumoured to exist. It also had a strategic position at the entrance to the Mersey Estuary.

The Perch Rock battery was completed in 1829.[5] It mounted 18 guns, mostly 32 pounders, with 3 6-inch guns installed in 1899.[6] Originally cut off at high tide, coastal reclamation has since made it fully accessible.

In 1830, a Liverpool merchant, James Atherton, purchased 170 acres (69 ha) of land at Rock Point, which enjoyed views out to sea and across the Mersey and had a good beach.[7] His aim was to develop it as a desirable residential and watering place for the gentry, in a similar way to Brighton, one of the most elegant seaside resorts of that Regency period  hence "New Brighton". Substantial development began soon afterwards, and housing began to spread up the hillside overlooking the estuary  a former gunpowder magazine being closed down in 1851.

New Brighton Pier and landing stage, during the 1890s

During the latter half of the 19th century, New Brighton developed as a very popular seaside resort serving Liverpool and the Lancashire industrial towns, and many of the large houses were converted to inexpensive hotels. A pier was opened in the 1860s,[8] and the promenade from Seacombe to New Brighton was completed by 1901.[9] This served both as a recreational amenity in its own right, and to link up the developments along the estuary, and was later extended westwards towards Leasowe, making it the longest in the UK.

The river Mersey and the resort were described by the diarist Francis Kilvert in 1872 as: "crowded with vessels of all sorts moving up and down the river, ships, barques, brigs, brigantines, schooners, cutters, colliers, tugs, steamboats, lighters, "flats", everything from the huge emigrant liner steamship with four masts to the tiny sailing and rowing boat … At New Brighton there are beautiful sands stretching for miles along the coast and the woods wave green down to the salt water's edge. The sands were covered with middle class Liverpool folks and children out for a holiday."[10]

20th century

New Brighton Tower & Ballroom, viewed from the River Mersey, c. 1910

The New Brighton Tower, the tallest in the country, was opened in 1900 but closed in 1919, largely due to lack of maintenance during World War I.[11] Dismantling of the tower was complete by 1921.[11]

New Brighton's former open-air swimming pool, of Art Deco architecture, was opened on 13 June 1934 by Viscount Leverhulme.[12][13][14] When it was built, it was the largest lido in Britain, at a cost of £90,000.[15] The saltwater pool survived until 1990, when it was damaged during a storm and later demolished.[12][14]

Built in 1935, St Peter and St Paul's Church in Atherton Street is still a landmark. In the Second World War, sailors used to recognise they were close to home when they could see the green dome of the church from the Mersey.

After the Second World War, the popularity of New Brighton as a seaside resort declined dramatically. However, the Tower Ballroom continued as a major venue, hosting numerous concerts in the 1950s and 1960s by local Liverpool groups such as the Beatles as well as other international stars. The Tower Ballroom continued in use until it was destroyed by a fire in 1969.

Ferries across the Mersey to New Brighton ceased in 1971,[16] after which the ferry pier and landing stage were dismantled. By 1977, the promenade pier had suffered the same fate.[17]

In 1986, the area became the subject of Martin Parr's famous and controversial photographic book The Last Resort.[5]


New Brighton is situated at the north-eastern corner and the most northerly point of the Wirral Peninsula, and at the western side of the mouth of the River Mersey. Liverpool Bay of the Irish Sea is to the north. New Brighton lies on quite a steep hillside; the marine lake and lighthouse are at sea level while, less than 600 m (660 yd) away, St Peter and St Paul's Church sits on a promontory at 48 m (157 ft) above sea level.[18]

The 6.4 km (4 mi)-long North Wirral Coastal Park is situated between New Brighton and Meols.

Areas of Wallasey

Egremont | Liscard | New Brighton | Poulton | Seacombe | Wallasey Village


Perch Rock

Fort Perch Rock
Main article: Fort Perch Rock

Fort Perch Rock is a coastal defence battery built between 1825 and 1829, with the foundation stone being laid in 1826.[19][20] It was built to protect the Port of Liverpool and proposed as a fortified lighthouse to replace the old Perch Rock Light, however a separate lighthouse was built.[20] The fort was built on an area known as Black Rock, and was cut off at high tide.[20] However, coastal reclamation has made it fully accessible. It is currently open as a museum.[21]


New Brighton Lighthouse

New Brighton Lighthouse was originally known as Perch Rock Lighthouse. Construction of the present structure began in 1827 though a light had been maintained on the rock since 1683. It was designed on the lines of Eddystone by Mr. Foster and built of marble rock from Anglesey by Tomkinson & Company.[22][23]


St Peter and Paul's Church

New Brighton has two recognisable churches dominating the skyline and visible from the River Mersey. On Victoria Road, the Anglican St James Church by Sir George Gilbert Scott notable for its thin broach spire and a polygonal apse. It now incorporates the New Brighton Visitors Centre. The St Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Church is at the top of Atherton Street, completed in 1935, it is a prominent Grade II listed building in the Roman Gesu style, featuring a large dome on a drum. Nicknamed the "Dome from Home" by returning sailors, the church was closed in 2008, and subsequently reopened in 2011.[24]

Black Pearl

The Black Pearl Pirate Ship is a community art installation situated on the beach near Tower Grounds . A replica of a three masted pirate man-of-war, it is almost entirely constructed from salvaged materials and driftwood found on the beach. Unusually for an artwork it is the focus for many other activities, mainly as a children's play structure, but also as a mock up vessel for RNLI exercises, wedding ceremonies and as a popular subject for photography.[25] Originally constructed in 2013 by local artists Major Mace and Frank Lund,[25] it has been damaged by both arson and storms and has subsequently been reconstructed with the help of numerous volunteers in 2014.[26] The 'ship' has now become a semi permanent landmark on the seafront attracting thousands of visitors a year and national media attention.[27]


New Brighton is part of the Wallasey parliamentary constituency and represented by Angela Eagle MP, of the Labour Party who retained her seat in the 2015 general election.[28] New Brighton is an electoral ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, which is itself a district of the metropolitan county of Merseyside.[29][30]


New Palace amusement arcade, an Art Deco building.

Typical of a seaside resort, New Brighton has a wide range of visitor attractions and facilities adjoining the beach. These focus on the £60m Marine Point Leisure and Retail development, which opened in 2011.[31][32] This includes a 66-bedroom Travelodge hotel,[33] a range of cafe bars and restaurants, a Morrisons supermarket[34] and The Light, which is an 8-screen digital multiplex cinema.[35] Other attractions include the Riverside Bowl bowling alley,[33] the LaserQuest centre, the Art Deco New Palace amusement arcade (which includes a small fairground)[36] and the Floral Pavilion Theatre; which was rebuilt in 2008 as a first phase of the town's regeneration, and accommodates a conference centre.[37] Significant investment has also been made in the public realm, with particular highlights being the model boating lake and promenade.[38] Well known coffee chains Starbucks and Costa coffee were built in New Brighton, becoming an attraction to a lot more people. Mexican restaurant chain Chimichanga was also built and added to the cultural attraction, to this day, more high profile chains are added to the growing culture of New Brighton.

The Wirral Show, a free-to-enter annual event, was held on open ground off the King's Parade at New Brighton.[39] In 2009 it was announced that after 33 years, The Wirral Show was to be axed.[40] A sailing school, which used the refurbished marine lake, closed in 2015.[41]


Granville Bantock, conductor at the New Brighton Tower Ballroom

Musically, New Brighton first came to national prominence when Granville Bantock, later to be knighted as one of Britain's most prolific composers, took over leadership of the New Brighton Tower concert band.[42] Instead of continuing with the usual populist programme of dances and marches, Bantock set about transforming it into a professional orchestra.[43] Unusually for the time, the orchestra performed modern classical music and would champion contemporary composers, even daringly devoting entire programmes to an individual composer's music.[44] In return, many leading lights of contemporary British music, including Stanford, Parry, Corder, Mackenzie and Elgar, came to New Brighton to conduct and perform, and the New Brighton orchestra became nationally respected for the remaining period of Bantock's tenure.[42][44]

The pop concert New Brighton Rock was held over two days: 21 and 22 May 1984 at the town's open-air swimming pool and transmitted by Granada Television on 23 June 1984 on ITV.[45] It featured many musical artists of the day including Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Gloria Gaynor, Madness, Nik Kershaw and Spandau Ballet.[46] A strain was placed on local police resources due to an on-going commitment to the 198485 miners' strike. Nevertheless, the event was covered by Merseyside Police's Wirral Division.

A song about New Brighton called "New Brighton" was included on the 1992 album Song by Liverpool-based group It's Immaterial.[47] The music video for the 1993 K-Klass single "Let Me Show You" was partly filmed in New Brighton. In 1996, Wallasey Brit-pop band the Boo Radleys released the C'mon Kids album. Track 9 on the album was an atmospheric and nostalgic song called "New Brighton Promenade".[48] New Brighton is briefly mentioned in the song "Radio America" by the Libertines and there is also the song "A Day Out In New Brighton" on the "Delivery" CD single by Babyshambles.[49] Also the band Jegsy Dodd and the sons of Harry Cross had a track on their 1986 Winebars & Werewolves album called "Who Killed New Brighton".[50]

The bandstand situated in Vale Park is a popular outdoor music venue, hosting a variety of acts, typically an orchestra or choir every Sunday. In more recent times, the bandstand has hosted music to a much younger generation and popular throughout the summer. It has been an ideal platform for local bands wanting to gain recognition.



New Brighton Tower F.C. were an association football League club based in New Brighton which was disbanded in 1901.[51] Like Liverpool, Chelsea and Thames, New Brighton Tower were formed to play at an already-built stadium, the Tower Athletic Ground, with a capacity of 80,000. The owners of the New Brighton Tower, a seaside attraction built to rival the Blackpool Tower, recognised a need to ensure winter profits,[51] and had built a stadium adjacent to the tower. The football club was formed in 1896 to provide the entertainment, and joined the Lancashire League at the start of the 1897-98 season.[52] After finishing as champions in their first season, the club were elected to the Second Division[52] of the Football League when the League was expanded by four clubs. The team were very poorly supported, often averaging gates of 1,000.[51]

The club signed a number of new players, including some who had played international football, and was reasonably successful, finishing 5th (out of 18) in its first season, and 4th in their third season.[52] However, the cost of maintaining a professional football club became too high for the Tower's owners, and the club was disbanded in the summer of 1901, and replaced in the League by Doncaster Rovers.

In 1921, a new club was formed, New Brighton A.F.C.,[11] who would also play in the Football League from 1923 until 1951.[53] New Brighton is one of the smallest settlements ever to have a Football League club, although it was in close proximity to the much larger Liverpool.


New Brighton Football Club (R.U.) are a rugby union team now based in Moreton.[54] They currently play in South Lancs/Cheshire 1 in the English rugby union system.[55] The club was formed in New Brighton in 1875 and has been based at several grounds over the years.[54]



The Welcome to New Brighton Pierrot Sculpture, on a roundabout on King's Parade, on the A554

The main road through New Brighton is the A554. This road starts in Bidston, passing beneath the M53 motorway at Junction 1, heading towards the coast and then around it to Birkenhead. The B5143 joins New Brighton with Liscard.


New Brighton railway station is located on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. The station has a return service to Liverpool every 15 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytime, and a half-hourly service at other times.


Until 1971, New Brighton had a landing stage for the Mersey Ferry.[56] Support is growing for Merseytravel, the regional transport authority to re-instate the ferry to Liverpool.

Notable people

Born in New Brighton
Died in New Brighton
  • Thomas Thorp, (1850-1914), scientific instrument manufacturer, participated in the town planning of New Brighton as an architectural apprentice
  • Hall Caine, (1853-1931), writer, resident of New Brighton
  • James Howson, (1856-1934), former vicar of New Brighton
  • Granville Bantock, (1868-1946), composer and conductor, in 1900 lived at 19 Holland Road
  • Nigel Walley, (1941-), musician, resident of New Brighton
  • Greg Wilson, (1960-), DJ and producer, raised in New Brighton

See also


  1. "Coordinate Distance Calculator". Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  2. 2001 Census: New Brighton, Office for National Statistics, retrieved 30 June 2007
  3. "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  4. Collard 2009
  5. 1 2 Geoghegan, Tom (19 August 2006). "New Brighton, 'lungs of the Mersey'". BBC News. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  6. "Perch Rock Fort". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  7. "New Brighton". The Wirral Learning Grid. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  8. "The New Brighton Pier". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  9. "Wallasey". Wirral History. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  10. McKie, David. McKie's Gazetteer - A Local History of Britain. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-84354-654-2. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 "The Tower Grounds". History of Wallasey. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  12. 1 2 "New Brighton Open Air Bathing Pool". History of Wallasey. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  13. "New Brighton – Wallasey – Merseyside Bathing Pool". Lost Lidos. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  14. 1 2 "Headlines". History of Wallasey. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  15. Wright, Jade (14 July 2013). "Merseyside nostalgia: Look back at Liverpool's Lidos and open air swimming pools". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  16. "100 Interesting Facts". Mersey Ferries. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  17. "New Brighton Pier". National Piers Society. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  18. "SRTM & Ordnance Survey Elevation Data in PHP". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  19. "Fort Perch Rock" (PDF). Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  20. 1 2 3 "The New Brighton Fort". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  21. "Fort Perch Rock". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  22. "New Brighton Lighthouse". Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  23. "New Brighton Lighthouse". Retrieved 30 June 2007.
  24. Cureton, Stephanie (24 February 2011). "Wallasey's landmark church will re-open". Wirral Globe. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  25. 1 2 Bradbury, Sean (12 January 2014). "In pictures: The Black Pearl at New Brighton one year on". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  27. "Flooding in New Brighton leaves cars and shops under water". BBC. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  28. "Wallasey Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  29. "Election Result for New Brighton ward on 22 May 2014". Wirral Council. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  30. "Ward Place Profile" (PDF). GrantThornton. NHS UK. October 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  31. "Marine Point signs American restaurant". Place North West. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  32. "Pizza Express and Iceland sign up at Marine Point Retail & Leisure Park, New Brighton". Savills. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  33. 1 2 "Wirral pioneers US-style diner". North West Caterer. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  34. "Morrisons New Brighton". DLA Design. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  35. "The Light Cinema". Visit Wirral. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  36. "New Brighton". Visit Wirral. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  37. "New Brighton Floral Pavillion tribute from Ken Dodd". Liverpool Echo. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  38. Murphy, Liam (19 August 2010). "Regenerated New Brighton seafront handed by to Wirral council". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  39. "The Wirral Show". Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  40. "The Wirral Show Scrapped". The Wirral Globe. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  41. Hughes, Lorna (8 August 2015). "Sailing school at New Brighton's marine lake ceases trading with unpaid bills of £57,000". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  42. 1 2 Budd, Vincent. "A Brief Introduction to the Life and Work of Sir Granville Bantock". MusicWeb International. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  43. "The Delius Society Journal" (PDF). The Delius Society (80): 5. October 1983. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  44. 1 2 "The Delius Society Journal" (PDF). The Delius Society (80): 6. October 1983. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  45. "New Brighton Open Air Bathing Pool". History of Wallasey. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  46. "Film & TV Database: New Brighton Rock". British Film Institute. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  47. "It's Immaterial – Song". Discogs. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  48. "The Boo Radleys – C'Mon Kids". Discogs. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  49. "Babyshambles – Delivery". Discogs. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  50. "Jegsy Dodd & The Sons Of Harry Cross – Winebars & Werewolves". Discogs. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  51. 1 2 3 "New Brighton Tower Football Club". BBC Radio 4. 17 February 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  52. 1 2 3 "New Brighton Tower". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  53. "New Brighton". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  54. 1 2 "New Brighton Football Club (Rugby Union)". Pitchero. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  55. "New Brighton Football Club (R.U)". Pitchero. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  56. "The New Brighton Ferries". Retrieved 26 October 2016.


Further reading

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